Ishrat Jahan case likely to be buried without trial

The sensational encounter case - which has seen several twists and turns ever since the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed its first charge sheet six years ago, claiming that Ishrat and three others were killed in a fake encounter by officers of Gujarat police and Intelligence Bureau - is likely to be closed without any trial.

The sensational Ishrat Jahan encounter case - which has seen several twists and turns ever since the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed its first charge sheet six years ago, claiming that Ishrat and three others were killed in a fake encounter by officers of Gujarat police and Intelligence Bureau - is likely to be closed without any trial.

The central agency on Thursday told a special trial court that it has “accepted” the court’s orders discharging key accused and ex-police officers DG Vanzara and Narendra Amin from the case. On May 2, the court had discharged the two on the grounds that the state government had not granted sanction for their prosecution under Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. 

The investigating agency’s stance means that proceedings against the remaining four accused - Inspector General of Police G L Singhal, retired deputy superintendent of police Tarun Barot, J G Parmar and police sub-inspector Anaju Chaudhary - are likely to be dropped as well, which will eventually result in closure of the case without any trial. 

On Thursday, CBI’s special public prosecutor RC Kodekar first orally informed special CBI judge R K Chudawala that the “competent authority of the agency has accepted the orders passed by this court”. However, as the court insisted Kodekar file in writing the agency’s stand, Kodekar consulted CBI officers and filed a one-page note (pursis) that stated the “CBI has accepted the orders passed by the court with regards to D G Vanzara and N K Amin”. 

This “acceptance” means that the CBI will not challenge the orders that dropped proceedings against these two ex-cops.

On an earlier occasion, the special court, which passed these orders, had held that there was prima facie a case against them while refusing their discharge pleas. 

Besides this, the CBI has also not challenged the discharge order of former Director General of Police of Gujarat Police P P Pandey, who was the most senior officer chargesheeted in the case. Even the victims have not moved high court for challenging these orders.

On July 3, 2013, the CBI had filed a charge sheet claiming that 19-year-old Mumbai college girl Ishrat Jahan, her friend Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai and two alleged Pakistani nationals Amjadali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in cold blood on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 14, 2004.

Apart from seven Gujarat policemen, the charge sheet also named four IB officers, including ex-special director Rajinder Kumar for kidnapping, illegal confinement and murder.

The division bench of the Gujarat High Court had handed over the probe to the CBI after a special investigation team (SIT), appointed by the court, established that Ishrat and three others were killed in a fake encounter. The SIT filed the FIR against 20 persons but the CBI chargesheeted only seven and most of the other accused turned witnesses.

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